In the Face of Adversity, Beauty, Poise and Desire to Educate and Serve by Fayemarie Anderson Carter


The First Lady of Belize, Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow

When someone is fighting the fight of her life, everything else falls away. Or at least, it should. For her, it is minute to minute. It becomes about nausea and holding down just the least bit of food. It’s constant needles searching for veins to draw blood. It’s about white blood cells and anemia. It’s about dry eyes and mouth sores from the chemo. It is about atrophy and fatigue. It becomes about carrying on with your everyday duties without fretting about an uncertain future. It is about facing death in the mirror everyday and vowing to overcome. Sometimes, one can’t help but dissolve into tears as the frustration and fear overwhelms even the strongest determination. It is hard enough in private, looking at the anxious faces of loved ones who are trying to hide their worry as they smile encouragingly. She ends up comforting them, desperately trying to allay their concerns. It is exhausting and contemplating another day just like this one, disheartening. And this lady is doing it publicly.

Not only does she have to deal with her own struggles, she must do it against cutting sarcasm and hurtful slander. Shame on you out there who can not leave your pettiness behind. Shame on you out there who can’t muster up a bit of compassion for a fellow human being in her darkest hour. She is a person. Just like you. Just like your mother. Just like your daughter. How dare you allow vitriol to spew from your lips, poisoning every good intention, every good effort? When you display such animosity and hateful behaviour, you do nothing against her, my friend, my lover of Belize. YOU show who YOU ARE and just what YOU ARE NOT.

I am sure that our First Lady, Kim Simplis Barrow, has already forgiven you. She has already come to terms with the idea that people will hate her because of her position and has come to accept it. BUT my lovers of Belize, that doesn’t make it okay. If you are guilty of such an egregious act, I challenge you to do something to make up for it. Get educated about cancer and its debilitating effects. Get educated about how you can be a part of the fight. I challenge you to walk a mile in her shoes and try to imagine how you would like to be treated and then do that, be that.